11 February 2013

Mentoring Leaders – No-One is Indispensable

Part of the role of a leader/manager is to grow future leaders. As we nurture teams, as we shift from managing the work to managing the workplace, as we create an environment where people can contribute to their potential, it creates fertile soil for growth and development.

Some might say, ‘Why grow new leaders? Doesn’t that put my job at risk? What if someone becomes as good as me?

One of the most important roles of leadership is to become redundant. A leader who’s indispensable is a threat to their organisation. Life is full of uncertainty, we never know when something will happen to us, and if we’re the only one who can do a job, we put our organisation at risk. One of the first things a good leader should do is begin to groom a successor.

To become powerful, we must give power away.

Some managers seem to believe that to ‘give power’ means ‘let the team loose’ on a project, and that if they’ve passed the task over, they have to take the consequences of the team’s efforts. Naturally enough, that’s a scary thought for a responsible leader! What if they get it wrong! If a group hasn’t had enough training, direction and experience, or they haven’t grasped a solid overview of other strategic issues facing the company, of course they’ll make decisions based on the limited data they’ve been given. And then they’re more than likely to produce flawed results. The outcome can only be frustration on all parts. Instead, team development is a dynamic evolutionary process in which all parties are involved.

Four steps to effective development of a team

Step 1: Educate

Although the manager makes decisions and directs their team’s activities, they explain issues to them; they’ll tell them about the decisions they made, and why they made those choices.

A surprising number of managers make decisions and don’t share the thinking – instead they share just enough to get the outcome. When you tell people what’s going on, they’re being prepared for higher-level involvement; they’re learning by osmosis, even when they don’t realise it.

Step 2: Ask for input

The manager asks the team for suggestions, applies their suggestions where possible, and keeps the team informed at all stages. If their recommendations can’t be applied, they’re told why.

Step 3: Involve fully

Discuss and work together collaboratively. The manager and well-informed team discuss all aspects of the situation, in full, and decisions are made collectively.

A well-run voluntary organisation, based on sound democratic principles, generally works like this. Consensus on key issues is gained before the group acts. They share responsibility, accountability and risk taking.

Step 4: Transfer responsibility

The leader/manager delegates the decision-making to the team, or individuals within the team, who can then operate autonomously. They tell the manager what they’ve done, as relevant, and take full responsibility for the outcomes.

If a leader doesn’t understand these steps, or hasn’t communicated the level of responsibility they’ve given to a team, they lay themselves wide open for frustration and dis-empowerment of their people.

Case Study – When it went wrong!

Abby was the new Chair of her local Parent/Teacher association. She’d seen the previous Chair run himself into the ground because of poor delegation skills, so decided to actively involve as many of her executive committee as possible. Sub-committees were established for all the core tasks, a leader was appointed for each sub-committee, and they were encouraged to seek assistants from the parents who weren’t on the elected team. Abby felt that this would be a good way to involve more of the less active parents in the running of the school affairs, and her team enthusiastically supported the idea.

Brendan, one of the long-standing members, took on responsibility for fund-raising. He gathered around him a small sub-committee just as Abby had suggested, and started running his own monthly meetings. All manner of complex and time-consuming money-making suggestions flowed forth to the main executive – too many for them to handle. Because Brendan’s focus went into his own area of interest – the fund-raising – he didn’t always get to the main meetings. Therefore he didn’t fully understand that the executive had inherited a number of serious issues, including a disciplinary matter with one of the school staff. To the rest of the executives, and to Abby, major fund-raising events, although important, didn’t hit the top of their radar screen right then.

One day, a few months into her term, Abby was surprised to receive a very curt request from Brendan to attend one of his sub-committee meetings. To her surprise she found that he and his team felt unsupported, unheard, unappreciated and frustrated.

As well as Brendan’s low awareness of the other issues the executive were dealing with, a couple of other communication factors muddied the waters.

· He didn’t send his reports through until the night before the main executive meetings, which were always held in the morning. This meant that Abby had no time to consider the recommendations, or circulate them to the rest of the executive, until after their meeting.

  • Neither he nor Abby talked together very much; because they were both busy their main dialogue was by email.

Had she known more about the process of team development, she would have realized she wanted them to work at a Step 2 level. However, they interpreted their mandate as being somewhere between Steps 3 and 4. Both sides were responsible for communication breakdowns, neither understood the development cycle, and they had to work three times as hard to repair the situation.

And one last point about well-developed teams – they’re more productive. An employee who doesn’t feel very important won’t worry about the little time wasters that cuddle in for comfort. However, if they feel that they ‘own’ their job they’ll be much harder on their own time inefficiencies. Given the opportunity to take responsibility, they’ll work to their maximum instead of working to rule.

Are your days too short, workload too large and work-life balance a pipe dream?

Take a look at these Books, E-books, CDs/Teleseminars, Online Courses/Webinars and Tools. They provide practical, effective and easy to implement ways for you to free up your time, improve your productivity and reduce stress from overload.

Webmasters/Ezine Publishers: Would you like to use this article?
You are invited to use any of our articles in your publication or website. The only requirements are that we are included on your mailing list, and that you include the following, after each article you use...

Robyn Pearce CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the Time Queen. She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire.

Get your free report 'How To Master Time In Only 90 Seconds' and ongoing time tips at gettingagrip.com.

© All Rights Reserved to Robyn Pearce, GettingAGrip.com, R.D.4, Pukekohe, South Auckland 2679, New Zealand Ph. +64 275 846 348

If you'd like Robyn to write something specific for your industry, please email us with your request.

Get Your Free
'How To Master Time'


Plus your FREE Time Resources Pack (Valued at $227)


Client Testimonials

Catalyst For Efficiency ImprovementsIt was great to introduce our two job-share receptionists to Robyn’s Getting a Grip on The Paper War text.  It became a catalyst for us to improve our administration proce..." Marie Collins, Business Manager, The NZ Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

Enhanced Efficiency Thank you for all the tips and words of advice you and your team have sent through.I have been constantly reading it and it does wonders to my line of work and also being a wife and mot..." Anaseini Liku, Communication & Media Coordinator, Ministry of Education, Cook Islands

Clear Directions Enhance Use Of TimeI have just finished reading 'Getting a Grip on Time' and 'Getting a Grip on the Paper War'.  Particularly your book on 'Time' got me back on track, and during the day I catc..." Ingrid Geerlings, Owner, www.houseofmilk.com

Leadership Book Helps To find the Real Me‘I’ve just been reading ‘Getting a grip on Leadership’.  It is very good and has had an impact on me.  I realised I’d lost my way a bit re who I am ..." Heather Millar, Manager, Professional Practice, Central North Island Kindergarten Association, New Zealand

Additional $120,000 Billed After Time Management CourseI have personally known Robyn Pearce for around 16 years. From time to time my firm has contracted Robyn on a project basis to work with our professional staff as well as partners in the fi..." John Hackett, Partner, A J Park, New Zealand

The Librarian Who Got Her Life Back!The kick-start that I needed was delivered by a velvet glove, but make no mistake the iron hand within the glove ensured that the message was received and understood. If you are going to spend some..." Heather Jenks, Associate University Librarian (Research and Learning Services), University of Canterbury

Increasing Personal Confidence And Job ManagementHaving worked already very successfully with our NZ Team, Robyn's support of the Australian Team over a 12-month period was fundamental to helping us cope with increased day to day workload - espec..." Julia Braun, General Manager - Marketing, Beiersdorf Australia

A Great Empathy And Affinity With PeopleI have used Robyn as an Executive Coach for key Senior Staff for a number of years now and couldn't recommend her more highly. I've found as people step up in the organisation they often struggle t..." Merilyn Havler, Then General Manager, Beiersdorf New Zealand

An Increase of 30% In Gross Turnover Due To Better SystemsWhen we reviewed the progress made as a result of your concepts, a staggering number of them had become an integral part of our day to day business, collectively making a huge difference to our eff..." Wayne & Lisa Hughes, Occupational Therapy Helping Children, NSW, Australia

Motivational And Thought Provoking SessionI'd like to highlight the benefits felt both by the staff members attending your sessions, and the motivational flow-on effects experienced throughout the Hotel.In the developmental sta..." Human Resources Manager, Wentworth Hotel (part of the Rydges chain)

Successful Paper Management Seminar Thank you for your interesting and indeed challenging speech. I could see all the people who've ..." Australian Institute of Credit Managers, Sydney Branch

Personalised Seminar For Long-term Results On behalf of the team at Strategic Lifestyle Management and our client Lend Lease I would..." SLM Conference and Incentive Manager, for client Lend Lease

Excellent Skilful Presenter "Thank you for the practical and informative Time Management seminar you recently gave to our senior m..." HR Manager, ANA Hotel, Sydney

Improve Your Organisation And Productivity The response to the program was extremely positive, with an average rating of 4.4 out of ..." Noel Cook, GM, Outdoor Network, Australia

Organisational Skills Improve To Lift Productivity Your time management seminars are one of the best things we've ever done. Weeks l..." Centrelink, Dubbo, New South Wales

Productivity Increased 50% Now several months later and my productivity has increased between 30% and 50%. I'm seeing more and bette..." Senior financial planner, IPAC, Australia

Timesaving Techniques Learned A wonderful surprise to learn how much I had improved since the first programme with you nine months a..." National Sales Manager, Personal Insurance, GIO Australia

Control Gained In Managing Time Feedback from the staff was very positive... all felt they had gained a great deal of control and di..." MD, C.Y. O'Connor College of TAFE, Northam, WA

Immediate Action For Change A lot of great new ideas and some very good new tools that I shall start implementing immediately. Group Services Trainer, Adecco

Increased Efficiency Saves 20-25 Minutes A Day "Many practical hints which helped me reorganise my office, to operate efficiently." ..." Senior Partner, Baldwins (Patent Attorneys)

Invaluable Resources In Time Management Books I would like to take this opportunity to commend you on the flexibility of your approach, and..." Human Resources Manager, Professional Services Review, Canberra

Self Management Crucial In Time Management You presented a most informative and challenging training session. Your ability to gain q..." Human Resources Manager, Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal of NSW

'Time Management Guru'! Once again you combine an enthusiastic presentation style with useful tips and techniques. Succinct and fun ..." Manager - Training & Development, Real Estate Institute of NSW

Beneficial Time Management Ideas Your presentation was brilliant, and your thoughts on how to make time management beneficial to eve..." Barbara McCarthy, President, Chatswood Chamber of Commerce, Sydney

Informative And Energising Speech We could not have chosen better. Your contribution was just what we wanted and needed, and I was t..." Raewyn James, Tamaki Teachers' Conference

Positive Feedback For Speech Robyn, you gave a fantastic speech, and I am still having positive feedback about your talk to this day..." Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator, Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi, and co-ordinator of Eastern Suburbs Women's Breakfast

Work Life Balance Put Into Practice I know everyone who attended was fascinated by all your planning tips and I know many have put t..." Solo Home Business Network, Sydney

IT Company Gains Insight Into Effective Time Management We were very impressed... everyone gained considerable insight to effective ..." MD, IT software company, Auckland

Professional Approach Reinforces Time Management Principles Following a number of very positive reference checks we invited Robyn Pe..." Godfrey Pembroke National Conference, Hobart, Tasmania

Staff Queue For Time Management Tips! "Thank you! I'm sure you could tell from everyone's enthusiasm that they enjoyed your presenta..." Programme Director, Pioneer SWAP

Specific Personalised Advice Benefits Group Robyn gave much more than the professional information imparted in this kind of session...." Principal Heritage Officer, Heritage Council NSW

They're 'screaming for more'! Thanks for your wonderful presentation. I've had a lot of positive feedback from our staff, and they c..." GM's assistant, Austereo, Australia

L.J. Hooker Predicts Great Success In Using Their Time Your down-to-earth common sense certainly hit home to a lot of people, and the feedba..." Lyn McDermott, Ass. Director, Marketing and Communication, L.J. Hooker Ltd

5 Stars For Time Management Course Robyn, in light of this morning's session (and comments about short emails!) I could leave it the..." Wilf Marley, Principal, Marley Loft Systems (Accountants)

Simple Practical Action Steps For Work Life Balance We've had great feedback since your last session with the NZ Institute of Charte..." Denise Bovaird, Past President, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

Improved Focus And Concentration After Time Management Course Since your time management course our managers have found that they ca..." John Moore, Then-HR Manager, International Cricket Council, Dubai

Jam-packed Personalised Seminar Very Effective   Robyn spoke to four of my Academy groups in the space of 11 days. I wa..." Barrie Barrett, Chairman, Academy for Chief Executives, United Kingdom

Awesome says Law Clerk, Bell Gully I just thought I'd spend a few minutes in the Proactive/Value-adding quadrant and let you know ho..." Law Clerk, Bell Gully, New Zealand

Excellent 'Management' Course, As Well As 'Time Management' I would like to extend a huge thank you for making your valuable time av..." David Greenslade, Managing Director, Strategi, New Zealand

We've Regained 30% Of The Time We Used to Lose! Since we worked with Robyn 5 months ago our team of 12 underwriters and support staf..." Senior Underwriter, QBE Insurance, New Zealand

Fantastic Course - Team Feedback Extremely Positive! Thanks very much for the Time Management programme you have conducted over the ..." Gareth McCulloch, National Sales Manager, Southern Hospitality Limited

View More